Republican presidential candidate Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) finished Tuesday night’s contest in Utah by receiving nearly five times as many votes in a landslide victory against Donald Trump, who earlier in the night nearly doubled Cruz’s numbers in an Arizona win. Meanwhile, underdog Democratic contender, Sen. Bernie Sanders (D-Vt.), decisively took Utah and Idaho, while Hillary Clinton handily won Arizona.
Despite splitting two states, Trump was able to increase his delegate lead Tuesday night, picking up all 58 winner-take-all delegates from the Grand Canyon State, compared to Cruz, who took all 40 of Utah’s delegates by winning more than 50 percent of the votes there. Falling further behind Tuesday night, Sen. John Kasich (R-Ohio) beat out Trump for second place in Utah, but came in a distant third in Arizona.
On the Democratic side, the two wins Sanders picked up gave him just about as many delegates as Clinton won Tuesday night — as 75 delegates were up for grabs in Arizona, 33 in Utah, and 23 offered in Idaho.
Results for Republican contests:
Arizona (94.4 percent of precincts)
Utah (85.4 percent of precincts)
Results for Democratic contests:
Arizona (94.4 percent of precincts)
Idaho (100 percent of precincts)
Utah (81.5 percent of precincts)
Underdogs not backing down
The GOP and Democratic frontrunners, Trump and Clinton, were not able to put away their feisty second-place rivals Tuesday night, even though they both won the biggest prizes of the night — Arizona. Instead of being able to look toward the November election, they must continue to focus on upcoming contests in the days and weeks ahead … before they can set their sights on winning the nominations for their respective parties.
In order to represent the GOP in Cleveland the summer, 1,237 delegates must be won. After Tuesday night’s contests, Trump wound up with 739, Cruz had 425 and Kasich finished with 143.
Trump’s double-digit win in Arizona is reported to have been the product of his tough talk on immigration weeks ago, when he promised that he would build a wall — on Mexico’s tab — across the United States-Mexico border to help solve the illegal alien problem in the state. Both Gov. Jan Brewer (R-Ariz.) and Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio — who have been very vocal about being tough on their state’s immigration problem — spoke out in support of Trump’s presidential campaign this month to help him at the ballot box.
Cruz, who beat Trump by more than 50 percent in the Beehive State, gleaned from former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney’s anti-Trump campaign. Romney, who is a Mormon and lost to Obama in 2012 as the Republican candidate, proved to have much sway with the predominantly Mormon voters in Utah, getting them to chose Trump’s competitors to the point where the presidential frontrunner came in third behind both Cruz and Kasich in the Tuesday night’s contest.
The Arizona primary and Utah caucuses proved very important for the Republicans, as there will be only one more contest over the next month — the Wisconsin primary on April 5.
Similar to Cruz, Sanders was hanging tough against his frontrunning competitor after winning Utah and Idaho Tuesday night. At his rally in San Diego, California, he challenged Clinton and America’s “rigged economy” and “corrupt campaign finance system” in front of his supporters.
“We are doing something very unusual in modern American politics,” Sanders proclaimed to the crowd, according to Fox News. “We are telling the truth.”
Still well ahead of Sanders, Clinton’s tally went up to 1,681 delegates after Tuesdays three contests, while her self-proclaimed socialist rival had 925 chalked up by early morning Wednesday. Whoever reaches 2,383 first will assume the nomination for the Democrats.
Both candidates are preparing for Saturday’s caucuses in Alaska, Hawaii and Washington State.
In the wake of terror
With the Islamic terrorist attack in Belgium coming on the day of the contests, candidates took time to address the issue of America’s national security.
Criticizing President Barack Obama’s plan to admit tens of thousands of Syrian refugees into America, Cruz blasted the outgoing president for putting his political agenda ahead of the nation’s safety from jihadist threats.
“The time for the president’s political correctness has passed,” Cruz expressed, the Associated Press reported. “We absolutely have to revisit our immigration policy across the board to prevent Islamic terrorists from coming in.”
Trump also had something to say in lieu of the bombings in Brussels by the Islamic State, reminding Americans about his previous call for the U.S. Visa Waiver Program to come to an end.
“I’ve been talking about this for a long time,” the 69-year-old businessman pointed out to Fox News Tuesday night, referring to part of his plan in the “war on terror.”
Clinton attempted to turn the tables on the Republican’s tough talk against terror at her rally in Seattle, Washington, where she celebrated her Arizona victory — insisting that the conservative candidates’ proposed strong measures are making the matter worse.
“The last thing we need, my friends, are leaders who incite more fear,” the former secretary of state argued.
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